If you see blood in your stool, it’s common to be alarmed. This type of thing is not necessarily normal, however, it is very common and is most often nothing serious. There are many possible reasons why you could see blood in your stool. For instance, it could be hemorrhoids or anal fissures, or quite possibly colon cancer.
If you want to know the underlying cause, you should make an appointment with a gastroenterologist or GI doctor. Here are some steps to take if you notice blood in your stool:
Make an Appointment with a Gastroenterologist
Seeing a GI specialist is the best way to determine what may be causing you to have blood in your stool. Your doctor will review your medical history and ask questions about other symptoms you’re experiencing, such as abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as when and how often you’ve noticed blood in your stool. The gastroenterologist may order tests such as a stool test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy to get more information about what might be going on inside your body.
Avoid Certain Foods
Certain foods can irritate or inflame the lining of your digestive tract, which could lead to further irritation and even bleeding from ulcers or tears in the tissue. For instance, spicy foods can cause either constipation or diarrhea in people, and the straining that you do during bowel movements can cause bleeding. At this time, try to avoid major irritant foods such as spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, processed meats like hot dogs and bacon, dairy products, and fried foods.
Dehydration can make stools harder, which means you have to strain during bowel movements. Drink plenty of water throughout the day – at least eight glasses to keep yourself hydrated. Caffeine is a major dehydrator, and you may need to drink more water to compensate.
Take Prune Juice if Constipated
Prune juice is a popular natural remedy for constipation, and it can also help with blood in your stool. Prunes are high in dietary fiber, which helps to bulk up stools and make them easier to pass. The high levels of sorbitol found in prune juice act as a mild laxative that helps stimulate the intestines and increase stool production. Drinking a glass of prune juice daily can help improve bowel regularity and make passing stool easier.
Consider Taking Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found naturally occurring within the human gut microbiome. They help regulate the healthy balance between good and bad microorganisms and help reduce inflammation from hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse, among others.
Seeing a bloody stool should warrant medical attention. A GI specialist can prescribe treatment that will prevent this issue from becoming chronic.
Gastroenterologist in California
Our gastroenterologists at inSite Digestive Health Care have advanced training in the treatment of digestive disorders. Blood in the stool is a very common issue we treat, and we provide testing options for our patients to help get to the bottom of the issue.